03/03/2006 1:00AM

Vaca City Flyer back on only 8 days' rest

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ALBANY, Calif. - Good trainers, like good pitchers, are never afraid to throw a curve.

In Sunday's $40,000 Mount Tam overnight stakes at Golden Gate Fields, trainer Art Sherman will do something he rarely does - run a horse off of short rest. Sherman has entered Vaca City Flyer, fresh off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita just eight days earlier.

"That's not my M.O.; that's not what I usually do," Sherman said.

The move could lead to something familiar for Sherman - a trip to the winner's circle, a place he has visited with more than one-third of his starters during the meeting.

won two straight after she moved to Sherman's barn prior to the start of the Bay Meadows meet in December.

In the Las Flores, she pressed a fast early pace before fading.

"She seemed to come out of the race fine," Sherman said. "She's eating well and kept her flesh. If she wasn't 100 percent, I wouldn't enter her, and I'm going to give her plenty time off after the race."

Vaca City Flyer is stakes-placed, having run second last year in the Richmond Handicap, but the 5-year-old mare could become a stakes winner Sunday, which would add to her value as a broodmare.

Sherman has also entered in the Mount Tam, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. A 5-year-old mare, Princess Lianna scored her fourth victory in eight starts at Golden Gate, dead-heating for the win in a $35,000 claimer on opening day Feb. 8.

Sherman warns not to overlook Princess Lianna. "I like her," he said. "She's working well, and she exploded down the lane last time."

Vaca City Flyer is capable of taking the field wire to wire, although she might have to tangle early with Dreizehn, who ran at Golden Gate for a $6,250 tag last fall.

From a betting perspective, could be a good play, despite the fact her 3-for-18 record is a far cry from Vaca City Flyer's 9-for-19 mark.

Lately, she has been meeting much better than the Sherman runners have, and is 3 for 5 at the distance. She won at 44-1 in her last start at the distance, at Hollywood Park in a $62,500 optional claimer, the same level Vaca City Flyer was running against here before her try in the Las Flores.

Despite the presence of Russell Baze in the saddle, Allswellthatnswell figures to offer value. She'll probably come from a bit off the pace.

Also in the field of seven is an Armando Lage-trained entry of Proudest Moment and Passion for Words.